By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
MONEY has been flowing into the South African soccer like a flood over the years.
For example, one club in the premiership can bank R18 million this season by winning just two competition-the Absa Premiership (R10 million), MTN 8 (R8 million).
Added to that, that particular lucky club in the bigger league also boast of an advantage of adding its winning prize-money with an extra R7 million to add their winnings to the total tune of a whooping R23 million in prize-money should it also lift the Nedbank Cup, South Africa’s own version of the FA Cup which also include clubs from the cash-striped lower divisions.
It is no argument that out of all the three cup competitions, the Nedbank Cup, which is dubbed Ke Yona has not been only the country’s biggest competition with a total of over R20 million in prize-money, but their first five years proved to have come in handy for ever clubs in the lower divisions as far as financial wind-fall is concerned and the likes of Baroka FC, and then National First Division sides Black Leopards and University of Pretoria can are good examples. Both Ama-Tuks and Lidoda Duvha reached the final matches of this competition in 2009 and 2011 but only to narrowly lost 1-0 and 2-1 to Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates at the Rand and Mbombela Stadiums respectively. The two sides were following on the foot-steps of another NFD side, Mpumalanga Black Aces who went all the way through to the inaugural final match of this competition in 2008 where they also narrowly lost 1-0 to the inaugural champions, Mamelodi Sundowns-for their efforts, the three clubs went all the way to the bank smiling with a cheque of R2.5 million each with the second division side (then known as Vodacom League), Baroka FC having caused some major up-set by beating the likes of Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs in the earlier rounds of the competition and went all the way to the semi-finals where they were booted out of the competition by fellow Limpopo side, Black Leopards in 2011. For their effort, Baroka FC who are from the dusty streets of Ga-Mphahlele outside Polokwane in Limpopo went home with R1 million plus (R50 000 for last 32 qualification) for their good effort in the Ke Yona Cup.
With Nedbank and the Premier Soccer League having renewed their relationship to another five years, clubs in the cash-stripped lower divisions can rest be assured that hard working could only be the way to make enough cash in their coffers, more so because they qualification to the last 32 means they already have R50 000 guaranteed in their bank accounts, and a win in the last 32 means R200 000 more for reaching the last 16 round of the competition. One such club is Maluti FET College which has already earned its passage through to the last 16 round of the competition at the expense of Orlando Pirates whom they surprised with a 4-1 victory to guarantee themselves a R200 000 in their bank account.
Unlike last season when the Premiership had 13 clubs in the last 16 round, this year clubs from this division has been reduced to a mere 9 after 7 of them were shown the exit, making a space for 5 clubs from the National First Division (NFD) and 2 from the SA Football Association (SAFA) structure.
Apart from Maluti FET College, the other club from SAFA structure is Tembu Royals FC who made a meat out of another Premiership side, AmaZulu whom they beat 2-1 in the last 32.
Meanwhile the Premier Soccer League has confirmed dates and venues for the last 16 round of the Nedbank Cup as follows:
Wednesday, March 13: Vasco da Gama v SuperSport United (Athlone, 7.30pm), Jomo Cosmos v united (Makhulong, 7.30pm).
Friday, March 15: Mamelodi Sundowns v Golden Arrows (Loftus, 8pm)
Saturday, March 16: Black Leopards v Platinum Stars (venue still to be confirmed, 3pm), Free State Stars v Bloemfontein Celtic (Charles Mopeli, 3pm), Kaizer Chiefs v Polokwane City (Moses Mabhida, 8.30pm)
Sunday, March 17: Tembu Royals FC V Maritzburg United (Mthatha, 3pm) amd African Warriors v Maluti FET College (Charles Mopeli, 3pm).